Employment in Doncaster above pre-pandemic levels

Nearly 2,000 more workers were on company payrolls in Doncaster last month than before the coronavirus pandemic, new figures show.

Friday, 18th March 2022, 9:58 am

But it comes as official figures show employees across the UK have seen the steepest fall in real wages for more than seven years, after earnings failed to keep up with price hikes.

Office for National Statistics figures show 135,179 people in Doncaster were on company payrolls in February.

This was up from 133,288 in February 2020, before the pandemic, and 4,838 more than in the same month last year, when 130,341 people were on payrolls.

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135,179 people in Doncaster were on company payrolls in February, up from 133,288 in February 2020

The number of workers on UK payrolls increased by 275,000 month-on-month, to 29.7 million.

Different ONS figures show average earnings, excluding bonuses, rose by 3.8 per cent in the three months to January.

But they failed to keep up with price increases due to record inflation that month, meaning they fell by 1% in real terms – the steepest decline seen since July 2014.

In April, bills are expected to rise by more than 50 per cent for the average household when the energy price cap rises.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak acknowledged concerns over the rising cost of living ahead of his spring statement on March 23, but said the labour market is in a strong position.

Mr Sunak said: "Thanks to the unprecedented economic support we've provided, we've now seen a year of falling unemployment and a stronger jobs market bounce back than so many predicted.

"I am confident that our labour market is in a good position to deal with the current global challenges, with payrolled employee numbers above pre-pandemic levels in every nation and region and redundancies at record lows."

However, the Government has faced criticism over the level of support it has offered.

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Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said working people deserve financial security and a wage they can live on.

"The Government must use the spring statement to act," Mrs O'Grady added.

"We need a plan to get wages rising in all jobs, a boost to Universal Credit, and a windfall tax on oil and gas profits – with the money raised going to energy grants for hard-pressed families."

While rising costs have seen real wages fall, the UK unemployment rate reached its lowest point since before the pandemic, falling to 3.9% in the three months to January.

In Yorkshire and The Humber, the unemployment rate was 3.9 per cent, up from 2.4 per cent in the same period last year.

Separate figures show vacancies increased nationally by 105,000, to 1.3 million in the three months to February.

However, the strong labour market does not help arrest the cost-of-living crisis, says Danni Hewson, financial analyst at stockbroker AJ Bell.

Ms Hewson said: "It doesn’t matter that a record number of people are now on UK payrolls or that there is still a record number of job vacancies, people in work are feeling the pinch and it’s going to get worse.

"It’s not because wages aren’t rising – how could they not in such a tight labour market – it’s just that the cost of simply living is getting more and more expensive."

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.